If our skin and bones can heal and recover, are you also wondering why can’t your tooth do the same on a dental cavity? One of the incredible abilities of the body is to recover and heal itself after an illness or a trauma. However, many patients are curious if it is possible to reverse cavities or, at least, stop them from getting worse.
Is it possible to reverse or stop a cavity from getting worse?
Weakened enamel or the early stage of tooth decay can still be saved and reversed by replenishing the lost minerals in the tooth enamel. However, once the bacteria reaches the dentin, it becomes a point of no return. Demineralization appears as the white spot on the surface of our tooth that loses minerals due to the acid produced by plaque.
Our tooth enamel is the strongest substance in our body. However, it does not contain a live tissue that it can use to regenerate and heal itself. Once the bacteria have successfully cut through the enamel, there will be no barrier to prevent the bacteria from affecting the internal parts of the tooth.
Knowing more about cavities
A dental cavity is caused by the acids released by the disease-causing bacteria from the plaque around the tooth. It only takes about 4 to 12 hours for the bacteria to use the starch and sugar and build an invisible and sticky biofilm around your teeth called plaque.
Due to poor oral hygiene, the bacteria in the plaque produce acids that remove minerals from your tooth enamel. The constant release of acids will weaken your tooth enamel until it opens up and gets infiltrated by the bacteria.
Progression of a dental cavity
Contrary to popular belief, dental cavities do not start when you see holes in your tooth or when your tooth starts to hurt. Bacteria are sneakier than you think since they silently start dental cavities by targeting the enamel.
Here is how a cavity starts and gets worse with poor dental hygiene and if left untreated:
- Demineralization: The bacteria in plaque will release acids to weaken the enamel. Due to mineral loss, the affected part will dry up and turn into white spots on the surface of your tooth.
- Breakdown of tooth enamel: Constant exposure of the tooth enamel to the strong acids from the bacteria will weaken the enamel until small cavities start to emerge on the tooth surface.
- Dentin damage: With poor oral hygiene and failure to restore the lost minerals in the tooth enamel, the bacteria will progress to the internal parts of the tooth. Once the bacteria break through the enamel, they will start to attack the dentin or softer part of our teeth. Dentin contains fluid and cells that can speed up tooth decay and cause pain and tooth sensitivity.
- Pulp decay: The final target of cavity-causing bacteria is the dental pulp that gives access to the tooth root, nerves, and blood vessels. At this stage, your gums will start to swell and get painful.
- Tooth abscess: Once the bacteria overtake the pulp, it will move further down the tooth root and cause tooth abscess or pus. At this point, a root canal or tooth extraction would be the best treatment, depending on the extent of the cavity.
Visit Soft Touch Dental and save your tooth from a dental cavity before it is too late
The sneaky disease-causing bacteria in our mouth only waits for the right opportunity to attack our teeth. One missed brushing or flossing session can help them advance in attacking the tooth enamel. Good oral hygiene and frequent dental visits will always be the key to strong and healthy tooth enamel in preventing cavities.
If you notice early signs of a dental cavity, visit our dental team as soon as possible. Soft Touch Dental provides preventive and restorative services in Florissant, MO to prevent and treat dental cavities in all stages.
Our team aims to educate our patients on preventing the progression of tooth decay in its early stage. Learn more about your oral health and schedule an appointment today.